Sat, Apr 20, 2019 - Page 2 News List

Documentary on 2016 oil spill wins award in Houston

By Lin Chia-nan  /  Staff reporter

Department of Water Quality Protection Deputy Director-General Liu Jui-hsiang, center, holding an award for the film T.S. Taipei Grounding and Oil Spill 2016, is joined by voice dubber Chen Pei-hsin, left, and Geographic Information Technology general manager Kuan Yung-kai in Houston, Texas, last week.

Photo courtesy of the Environmental Protection Administration

A short documentary created by the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) on a 2016 oil spill has won a special jury award at the 52nd WorldFest-Houston International Film Festival.

On March 10, 2016, a 15,487-tonne cargo ship owned by TS Lines Co that carried 392 containers — nine of which contained hazardous substances — and 505 tonnes of fuel and oil ran aground about 250m off New Taipei City’s Shihmen District (石門), polluting the sea and coastal area.

The 21 crew members aboard the TS Taipei were quickly rescued, but National Airborne Services Corps pilot Lin Chen-hsing (林振興) and coast guard member Tsai Tsung-ta (蔡宗達) died during a rescue operation the next day, when a helicopter piloted by Lin crashed into the sea.

The 13-minute film, produced by the EPA and Geographic Information Technology Co, details efforts to clean the spill and remove the ship over 159 days.

It also includes a scene in which residents blast the government for being unable to completely extract the oil and compensate tourism losses.

The scene occurred at a meeting on the 16th day after the incident with then-premier Simon Chang (張善政), who asked them to think about the two sacrificed rescuers.

The producers received the award last week at a ceremony in Houston, Texas.

Department of Water Quality Protection Deputy Director-General Liu Jui-hsiang (劉瑞祥) yesterday said that the award is an honor, but it is painful to recall the incident.

It was the most serious instance of marine pollution in 10 years, he said, adding that the EPA had mobilized more than 10,000 people to clean up the spill.

Nonetheless, it is great to see that Shihmen’s coastal area has been restored to its former beauty after months of toil, he said, adding that it was also a valuable experience setting up a response mechanism for such a large-scale pollution incident.

Management of marine pollution has been transferred from the department to the Ocean Affairs Council, which was established last year, Liu added.

An English-language version of the film can be accessed at https://youtu.be/IZUWzGJyENM.

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